Preston City Council prepares to reassure residents concerned about the safety of vacant buildings after a devastating fire ripped through St David’s Church

Police later confirmed the man had been identified and the fire was not considered suspicious after it was ruled accidental.

Emergency services at the scene of a fire at St David’s Church in Eldon Street, Preston

Following the latest fire at St David’s Church, Councilor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, sought to reassure the community that the safety of the townspeople was the main concern and top priority advice.

“The loss of St David’s Church and the news that someone may have perished in the fire is tragic and very sad and we understand that some residents may be concerned about the safety of other vacant or derelict properties. in their area,” he said.

“We want to reassure the public that the council is working closely with partners to ensure that community safety is paramount and that a tragedy like this never happens again.”

A huge fire at the old Odeon cinema in Preston city center. (LFRS)

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Preston City Council acknowledged that there had been a recent increase in reports and intelligence regarding unauthorized access to vacant and derelict buildings.

They said it was sometimes by homeless people but also more recently by “urban explorers” – thrill-seekers filming the experience on social media platforms.

The council added that responsibility for vacant buildings lies with the owners, not the local authority, but that they were carrying out preventative action in partnership with Lancashire Police and the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service which focused on vacant and abandoned buildings in the city.

Fire brigade at the former BHS store in Fishergate

They added that Safer Streets officers carried out regular checks and risk assessments of buildings, working closely with owners to act responsibly and to take stricter measures to prevent unauthorized entry.

Checklist for owners of vacant or disused properties:

– Regular monitoring either remotely or through regular on-site visits

– Follow-up of repairs and maintenance of site security

Firefighters of the Saint-Joseph orphanage

– List all risks and identify solutions

– Installation of fire and security equipment on the premises such as fire alarms, CCTV, burglar alarms, etc.

– Consider employing a property management company to ensure the safety and security of the property

– Plan ahead, if a property is likely to remain unoccupied for a long time, develop a strategy to prevent deterioration and maintain security.

– Secure storage and dispose of all waste responsibly to prevent waste fires on the premises

– Do the premises need locked or gated access to prevent fly dumping?

Preston City Council added that fire and fireworks safety information which is provided to young people across the city to prevent accidental fires and injuries was also a very important part of its campaign. of prevention.

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